Peter N. Campbell-Copp, 63, of Manchester, pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to two misdemeanor counts of bad checks. He was released on the same conditions he has been under since last year, when over the course of several months he pleaded not guilty to at least a dozen fraud related charges.
According to Manchester and Hinesburg police, Campbell-Copp has been accused of using his publishing company, Historical Pages Inc., to enter into book publishing deals with a number of authors and collecting between $5,000 and $9,000 from them to turn their manuscripts into books. Police say according to these authors and one printer, Campbell-Copp does not follow through on his obligations and in total has collected many thousands of dollars in this fashion over a number of years. Campbell-Copp, who pleaded not guilty to the initial round of charges in June 2011, has denied these allegations.
"I think we are done on the charges," said Deputy State's Attorney Christina Rainville, adding she could not comment further on the case.
Campbell-Copp is scheduled for a pre trial conference on Dec. 10, a final jury calendar call on Feb. 6, 2013, and a jury drawing on Feb. 12.
According to the most recent affidavit by Manchester Police Officer Daniel Steere, during the course of the investigation he was made aware of Timothy Bryant, 64, who said in 2009 he signed an agreement with Campbell-Copp to have a book published for $8,500, but Campbell-Copp never followed through. Bryant said after the agreement was made he lent Campbell-Copp between $7,800 and $8,100, with the agreement it would be paid back over time. Bryant told police he received one check from Campbell-Copp for $800, using his Historical Pages account, but it was returned because the account lacked sufficient funds.
Steere wrote that Charles Colvin, 79, reported a similar problem with Campbell-Copp. According to the affidavit, Campbell-Copp owed a total of $12,919 to The Journal Press Inc., based in Poultney. Colvin had sold the business but retained accounts payable and receivable. Colvin told police he had received three checks from Campbell-Copp, one for $520, another for $260, and one for $1,020, but all were returned for lack of sufficient funds.
According to Steere, he also spoke to Sheila Selden, 60, who said she had three checks from Campbell-Copp bounce. One check was for $2,000, another for $500, and a thirds for $525.
Steere wrote in his affidavit that he has spoken to at least 14 people who claim to have entered into book contracts for between $7,000 and $9,000 with Campbell-Copp and received nothing in return. According to Steere, Campbell-Copp has made statements to police about using the money from new books deals to pay back those involved in older ones.